Roanoke 19

Roanoke: Chapter Nineteen

Le Fay backed off from the rock. He made his way back from rock to rock, trying to make sure that he was not seen by the people of the Bishopric. Not now that Trevelyan was in the place.

He went back to the cave he had found and got out of the sun. He sat down in the deepest shadow in the cave.

Le Fay now only wanted to get out of this Red World and back to his own world. But he had not yet found any way back. He could foresee getting stuck here for the rest of his life, now that he could not call on the help of the Bishopric. That was a prospect which did not particularly appeal to him. He did not want to spend the rest of his life living in White Town – not while Trevelyan was in the Bishopric.

He had not found a way back. The mystical whirlpool had proved to be one-way, landing him on the island of Roanoke. There was no way back from there.

Then something occurred to him. The mystical whirlpool had been visible as a spiral of colours when he had been in the world of shadows. If there really was any way back home to his world, then it might be visible when he was in the Shadow world, just like the other one had been.

With his Shadow Magick he could cross distances far quicker than he could in the physical world. If he was careful then he could use his Magick to search the entire world, a bit at a time.

He sat down and wondered if he could really do that. He presumed that this world was as big as the world from which he had come. Could he really search anything that big? It was further than he had ever travelled through the world of shadows before. Yet he knew that he could go a lot faster than in the real world. His thoughts, in the Shadow World, were enough to propel him along.

Yet what choice did he have? The portal through which he had come was only one-way. If the only way in which he could go home was to search the entire world then that was what he would do.

Then began the most tiring period of Edwyn le Fay’s life. He spent days travelling inside the Shadow World, searching for that other elusive spiral of colours.

Le Fay almost gave up. He though, perhaps, that such a thing did not exist. When he got too tired he would retreat back to his cavern, if it was no too far away. But, sometimes, he would simply exit the Shadow World and sink down to the ground.

It took him days of searching, perhaps longer. It was hard to judge time in the realm of shadows. When he came out he was usually very tired, wanting to do nothing but sleep. But he still had to provide for himself.

At least there was a stream near the cave he had found. He had water to drink. Food, though, could only be obtained through using his Magick. He had learned pyromantic spells from the spellbooks of Gideon de Ville.

At times he would exit the world of shadows to look at the world around him. He hoped to see some other indication of human beings in this world. He looked for carriages and railways; for hovels and houses and anyplace where people might live. He looked for roads. A single road, many miles away from White Town or the Bishopric, would be proof that there were other people on this world. But he never found such a road. It really did seem as though the only human habitations on this world were White Town and the Bishopric. This was not a world of men. Even three hundred years after coming here people still lived just in two towns. Le Fay wondered if mankind would ever spread across the face of this world.

Le Fay saw some very beautiful sights, in his time spent exploring this world. He saw these places how they were without any interference from human beings. He saw the Grand Canyon, its great cliffs and mesas. It was possible that, in this world, he had been the only human being to see that place. No wagon trains had ever come through the place.

He saw the great Niagara Falls, where millions of tons of water plunged over the cliffs. There was no visitor centre there. Blondin had not walked a tightrope above those mighty waters.

He saw the great mountains of the Andes, and those of the Himalayas, where wildlife thrived, without the presence of mankind. Those mountains had never been climbed. Perhaps they never would be.

Le Fay found that many animals had no fear of him. He could walk over to where birds were pecking on the ground, searching for worms, and they would not fly away from him. They had never seen a human being before. Sometimes he felt like St Francis of Assisi, who had allegedly been loved by all animals, and had even preached to the birds.

He saw an Africa with a much greater Sahara Desert which, under the red sun, had already claimed many more lands than before. There was no way back in Africa. A lot of it was too harsh for life: too hot, and too much sand. Mankind had either never evolved there, or had died out before it could expand around the world, a victim of the slightly different climate of this world.

He visited Great Britain. It looked like he imagined southern Spain looked, in terms of its plants and animals. It was not the Britain which he knew. He could not make any home there. And there was no portal there, either.

He went to the polar regions, and was surprised to see ice and snow. Those places were cold – too cold for him to stay outside of the shadowy world. And there was no portal there, either.

Then, when he had almost given up on ever getting back home, he saw, inside the Shadow World, colours which should not be there, and a distortion of the shadows. He did not approach. Not in the Shadow World.

He exited back to the real world. Using his mythometer he approached on foot, wondering if this vortex was open. If the doorway was closed he was not sure how he would get through, without his Magickal Oscillator. He might not have the talent to force it open.

But he could tell as he got closer that he was looking at a one-way rip in reality. It was what he was looking for, and the door was open. Edwyn le Fay surmised that this might be connected to the vortex at Roanoke in some manner, and that, when that one had been forced open, that this one had opened as well. But that was only a theory. He had no way of knowing whether it was true or not.

He had found the way back. But he did not step into the vortex yet. There was one task left to do: and that was why he had come here in the first place – to take the descendants of the Lost Colony of Roanoke back to his world.